Q&A: Mary Remer

We go one-on-one with the Main Line’s No. 1 dog nurturer and owner of Frazer’s What a Good Dog!

Photo by Andrew PinkhamUpon visiting What a Good Dog!, a new state-of-the-art, $6.6 million canine community in Frazer, you’ll know one thing for sure: Villanova’s Mary Remer is cuckoo for canines. Keen observation skills, a nurturing soul, and a desire to enhance the lives of dogs and their families have earned the internationally acclaimed trainer and 15-time Westminster Kennel Club Best of Breed winner “top dog” status among Main Line pooch lovers. If you’ve got one, she’s your new best friend.

MLT: How many dogs do you own?
Currently, I share my house with eight dogs and a Kunekune pig.

MLT: Who are you more comfortable around—dogs or people?
I feel immediately relaxed and at home with dogs. I certainly enjoy people, but it might take me longer to feel as comfortable. Sometimes I can serve as a translator for dogs to their people.

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MLT: When did you first realize you had a way
with dogs?
From my earliest memory, I’ve always felt a special kinship with the animal world. It’s in my genes, and I was very blessed to be raised in a very animal-oriented environment, where the skill of observing and relating to them was first and foremost in developing the best relationship.

MLT: What’s your best advice to a new dog owner?
It’s not about imposing your will on your new puppy; it’s about finding out who they are and creating the optimum partnership.

MLT: Are you ever concerned about friction among your residents?
If we’re doing our job right—assessing, placing them in appropriate groups and monitoring—the dogs should feel comfortable, and there shouldn’t be any serious squabbles.

MLT: Could a pooch get evicted?
The only way would be ill health.

MLT: Do you worry that some people might question the need for such a lavish facility?
To quote Gandhi, “A nation can be judged by how it treats its animals.” Look at all that dogs give to human causes—search and rescue, therapy dogs, guide dogs for the blind and deaf, assistance dogs for the physically and emotionally challenged, police work. We have an obligation to give back.

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MLT: What are the highlights of your canine curriculum?
The quality of our instructors. Included in that is the ability to work with each dog and family to meet their particular needs. It’s the nuances in behavior that we’re able to detect and address. Also, the spectrum of our services, including private training and classes for puppies, senior dog stimulation classes, performance sports and handling. Our work on aggression issues is also a highlight.

MLT: Has their ever been a dog you couldn’t train?
Over the years, there have been dogs that I’ve been less successful with—probably because I’ve been unsuccessful with the owners. There have been some that I’ve found I couldn’t help and referred elsewhere. Today, I see a large number of dogs that come to me as a last resort, and I find that most do have resolvable issues.

To learn more about Mary Remer, visit whatagooddoginc.com.

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!